By Your Perseverance You Will Secure Your Lives

11-13-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

It is the penultimate weekend of the Liturgical Year and we know the last few Sundays of every Liturgical year are dedicated to reflections on the four last things: Death, Resurrection, Judgement and Heaven/ Hell. Last weekend we were invited to reflect on the Resurrection and its implications. This weekend, the Readings suggest a solemn consideration of post-Resurrection Judgment.

At the time of the Prophet Micah, the poor and the oppressed were fast becoming disillusioned with the promise of Divine Justice. They watched with dismay how their oppressors, evildoers and the arrogant continued to enjoy success and prosperity in spite of their glaring impiety. Their seemingly logical conclusion was that it was useless to serve God and to seek righteousness since evildoers seemed to be enjoying the prosperity promised to the righteous. The First Reading is God’s response to their concern. According to the Prophet Micah, the day of Judgment will surely come like a blazing oven; the proud and the evildoers will be called to Judgment which will be followed by total destruction, but for the righteous, there shall arise the Sun of Justice with its healing rays.

In the Gospel passage, while some people were admiring the beauty and grandeur of the Jerusalem Temple, Jesus reminded them of the Day of Judgement when everything will be destroyed. However, Jesus warned His Disciples against False Prophets who would pretend to predict the date and hour of Judgement. Believers would be able to know when the end is near through the signs that would precede it. Signs like wars, earthquakes, famines and plagues and in the midst of all these, true Disciples will be handed over to the authorities even by close relatives and friends and persecuted for righteousness. However, Jesus admonished His followers not to be worried about the end as the persecutions will inadvertently provide the occasion for true believers to witness to the Gospel and bear testimony to Christ.

Unfortunately, Jesus’ warning on the imminence of the apocalypse and subsequent judgment of all people attracted literal interpretation by some among the believers. This group of early Christians were using the expectation of the end of the world as an excuse to quit working and live at the expense of others. Paul condemned this attitude in no uncertain terms, counseling faithful to imitate him and his companions who waved aside their right to depend on the Church for their upkeep, but instead worked to earn a decent living in order to set a good example for them. The Apostle concluded by directing the Church to discourage this erroneous attitude by not offering food to the busy-bodies who refused to work. It is a work of mercy to feed the hungry, yet this work of mercy becomes perverted when it enables sloth on the part of the recipient. Everyone shall experience Judgement, we are sure about that, but when the world will end is not revealed to anyone. We are invited to wait for the second coming of our Lord, but we are not to do so in pitiable passivity. We are to go on working to earn a decent living and work even harder to appropriate to ourselves the salvation that Christ has already won for us. There has to be a balance in the Christian life between keeping our eyes on heaven and being faithful to our duties here and now.

Let us ask the Lord to renew hope in the Resurrection of the body and empower us with Grace to work hard so that we may experience the Mercy of God when Judgment comes.

Please be kind and may God bless you.

Fr. Manasseh